A Treasury of Entrepreneurial Tips from Richard Branson’s Business Stripped Bare

via CNBC

Almost everybody who digs into business news must have already come across the unique, fun-loving, employee-caring, almost reckless, and super impassioned British entrepreneur: Richard Branson.

Branson is arguably one of the most dominant entrepreneurs of our generation – not only in Europe, but in the world. He owns businesses that carry a sense of fun and freshness - even back from the early days when he only had a local music store, to his massive success today of having more than 400 companies including airline, mobile, and even space travel industries.

A chance to enter the mind of this knight-entrepreneur would be a great treat! Lucky us, he wrote a book that would allow us to do just that. It is entitled Business Stripped Bare.

Let us get some ideas from his success, journey, and one-of-a-kind personality - here are some tips and quotes we found valuable from his book:

“The sort of dinosaur businessman who brags about his 100,000 strong workforce and his £100 Billion turnover is finished. The planet cannot support him: in a decade or less, he’d be extinct. If only he’d split up his business into a couple of hundred companies, each turning over half a billion and forced to stand on its own two feet. Like the rest of us, he’d be hurting. But he’d be alive.”

“Think big, but build small. Create something you’re proud of, but don’t let it swallow you financially. You don’t need to slather money over a good idea. A good idea will grow by itself.”

“At its heart, business is not about formality, or winning, or ‘the bottom line.’ Or profit, or trade, or commerce, or any of the things the business books tell you it’s about. Business is what concerns us. If you care about something enough to do something about it, you’re in business.”

“In the teeth of a downturn, petty financial hassles can turn into major, life-changing crises, and tough decisions often have to be made. This is the side of business that journalists like to write about –but it’s the least exciting, least distinctive part of business. It’s secondary. It’s dull. What really matters is what you create. Does it work or not? Does it make you proud?

“Ethics aren’t just important in business. They are the whole point in business. We’re in business to make things. And when you decide what to make, that, right there, is an ethical decision.”

“The more successful you get, the bigger and harder the ethical questions become.”

“Welcome, then, to the first law of entrepreneurial business: there is no reverse gear on this thing.”

“Beyond that, though, business is ‘just business’: a scramble for profit. Right? Well, that might describe crime; it certainly doesn’t describe business.”

“Some elements of the British press still can’t quite get their heads around the idea that business is a worthwhile pursuit, which actually provides most of the tax revenue, employment, and wealth of the whole nation.”

“We thrive on ideas, but our day-to-day business is about delivery.”

“I’d advise every owner of a company to keep a notebook and jot down the things that need doing. If you’re listening to staff or customers, then write down the main points. If you’re visiting a factory or touring a new site or partying with your staff, use the notebook.”

“When you’re busy with a lot of things around you, if you don’t write things down, I doubt you’ll be able to remember one out of twenty items the next day.”

“Success one day does not give you a free lunch everyday thereafter.”

“Obviously, you can’t plan for the unexpected. All you can really do is never let your guard down. Delivery is not just hard work: it’s endless.”

“Make your small decisions in the light of the bigger picture, and you are at least pointing your craft in the right direction to ride out any storm.”

“Often, the bigger you are, the slower you move, the more dangerous change becomes.”

“Being the first to do so is admirable. But being the best is what really counts.”

“No business lasts forever, and being true to your life’s work carries with it the risk that you may lose your future. This is the deal we make with the world: that we exercise our free will and accept the consequences.”

“Every risk is worth-taking as long as it’s in a good cause and contributes to a good life.”

“What’s the most critical factor in any business decision you’ll ever have to make? Basically, it boils down to this question: If this all crashes, will it bring the whole house tumbling down like a pack of cards?”

“One business mantra remains embedded in brain –protect the downside.”

“Delivery is the moment where your good intentions meet the real world.”

“Let people know exactly what they are paying for.”

“Complex as this account (Virgin Mobile) has been, I hope it’s clear by now that you don’t necessarily need an accounting or legal brain to run a successful business. Our approach has come by asking questions.”

“Your initial business ideas may lack detail. That’s fine –but it doesn’t give the experts anything to work with. Ask them for their opinion, and they’ll give you something back that’s generic, predictable and fairly useless.”

“An expert who makes things more complicated isn’t doing their job right –and frankly, this is probably your fault. An expert should make things simpler.”

“Remember: complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It’s hard to make something simple.”

“Remember, everyone has an agenda, so the advice you receive from outside your trusted circle is not just to benefit you.”

“Befriend your enemies.”

“Protect your reputation.”

“When your very existence is threatened, you have to change. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn in business, because it’s so counter-intuitive.”

“The best way out is always through.”

“Innovation is often what you didn’t know you wanted until you got it.”

“The secret to success in any new sector is watchfulness, usually over a period of many years.”

“But trust me on this: luck is essential.”

“So here it is important to stress that there is a fundamental difference between an entrepreneur and a manager. They are often contrasting people and it’s crucial to realize this. Although I’m sure that there are entrepreneurs who could make good managers, my advice would be: don’t try to do both.”

“Entrepreneurs have the dynamism to get something started.”

“Good managers are worth their weight in gold. People with the acute psychological know-how to smoothly organize and handle the pressures of an ongoing business venture are the glue that binds the business world.”

“Affluence makes us lazy. It makes us complacent. It smothers us into cotton wool. If your job’s well paid, who can blame you if you’re not willing to take a risk and, say, set up your own company?”

“What matters is that you operate as a force for good at every scale available to you.”

“There are different paths that you can take in this life, and choosing the correct path is supremely important. And as if that weren’t pressure enough, it’s no good choosing not to choose, because that approach to life absolutely guarantees failure.”

What's your favorite quote from this list?

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